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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Olympia

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 18, 2006


A peek through the curtain...

Years ago, we're told, state lawmakers and legislative staff would annually trek from Olympia and Puget Sound into the wilds of Eastern Washington for a days-long round of hearings and meetings.It's time to return to that, says Sen. Jim Kastama, D-Puyallup. Last year, he promised…

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MONDAY, JAN. 16, 2006

How'd you mark the day?

Gov. Christine Gregoire marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a discussion among her top staffers of King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." It was assigned reading for the governor's cabinet members, who were told to look for lessons of King's leadership in the famous…

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A big check for Olympia?

Making the point that many college students are graduating with vast amounts of debt, students from Washington State University on Monday planned to present lawmakers with a $7.5 million check. That's the total debt that WSU's Young Democrats came up with in a survey of…

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No rest for the lawmakers...

One of the quirks of state legislatures is that they tend not to notice holidays. Washington's constitution predates most modern holidays, so one the session clock starts in January, there's no stopping for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents' Day, or other days off.

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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 11, 2006

First bill out of the gate...

Moving with rare speed, the Legislature is rushing through a bill to steer $7.6 million more into home heating assistance for low-income families.The House of Representatives passed House Bill 2730 Wednesday morning, handing off the bill immediately to the Senate. Gov. Gregoire -- who has…

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TUESDAY, JAN. 10, 2006

And more bills...

-House Bill 2495, by Rep. Derek Kilmer: launching a toll-free "state government efficiency hotline."-House Joint Memorial 4025, by Rep. Larry Haler: Asking the feds to build a new nuclear power plant at the Hanford nuclear reservation.-Senate Bill 6265, by Sen. Ken Jacobsen: Requiring emergency workers,…

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MONDAY, JAN. 9, 2006

Paying the tab...

Three state troopers camped outside the doorway of the Secretary of State's office? What can it be?Yup, a Tim Eyman-versus-critics press conference. Eyman on Monday filed his as-yet-unnumbered initiative to cap vehicle registration fees at $30 a year, repeal anything above that and to base…

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THURSDAY, JAN. 5, 2006

Gingrich redux...

House and Senate Republicans on Thursday rolled out their 2006 "pledge to the people of Washington," as Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt called it.Printed on computer-generated parchment, the 11-point Republican Commitment to Washington calls for:-a tougher spending cap-reducing the number of procedures (like acupuncture and…

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TUESDAY, JAN. 3, 2006

Gov. McKenna? Not for now...

"I've already started my campaign for re-election as Attorney General, which is what I'll be doing in 2008." -- Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, asked whether he's ready to run for governor. McKenna spoke at a meeting of capitol reporters and editors in Olympia Tuesday.

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TUESDAY, DEC. 20, 2005

Budget II: WSU's lab is back...

The biggest local item in Gov. Gregoire's budget plan is $63 million for a new life sciences research building in Pullman.This is by far the largest item in the governor's construction budget for this year. And it's an easy one, since WSU -- which tried…

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FRIDAY, DEC. 16, 2005

Local view...

The Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce's annual legislative preview -- various lawmakers talking about what to expect this year -- is slated to air on TVW's cable broadcast Friday at 9 p.m. and Saturday at 5 a.m. and again at 1 p.m.

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THURSDAY, DEC. 15, 2005

Sun Volt, Jane's Addiction, Eminem...Oh, and the Republican stance on medical liability reform...

Senate Republicans are now issuing their own podcasts: http://www1.leg.wa.gov/Senate/SRC/Podcast/.Among the topics: Sen. Bob Morton, R-Orient, on the state GOP's energy proposals; Sen. Brad Benson, R-Spokane, on transportation issues, and Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, on Republicans' farm agenda.House Democrats also put podcasts on their caucus website:…

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WEDNESDAY, DEC. 14, 2005

Johnson won't run again in 2006...

State Sen. Stephen Johnson said Wednesday that he won't seek re-election when his term expires at the end of next year.Johnson, an attorney who's been a lawmaker for 11 years, said he wants to "explore other options" in the legal field."I've come to the decision…

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FRIDAY, DEC. 9, 2005

Time and money...

Gov. Christine Gregoire's been trying for weeks to tamp down expectations among groups seeking a slice of the $1.2 billion in reserves that the state now has."We must save now, in order to manage if money gets tight," she says.She says there are some new…

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MONDAY, DEC. 5, 2005

Checks and balances...

Ten million bucks. That's the minimum price tag for most U.S. Senate seats, according to a new report from a University of Washington political research team.Among other things, the researchers concluded that "it is no longer possible, in any state, to mount a credible quest…

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WEDNESDAY, NOV. 30, 2005

Happy New Year...

If you renew your license tabs or register a vehicle after Jan. 1, brace yourself to pay more. New weight fees -- approved by lawmakers last spring --are about to kick in.In addition to the current $30 basic state license tab fee, vehicle owners will…

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THURSDAY, NOV. 17, 2005

Bemused...and intrigued...

"I am bemused by my learned colleague's knowledge of `repeated reports of sasquatch sightings.'" --Washington state Supreme Court Justice Tom Chambers, taking issue with fellow Justice Jim Johnson.Johnson's point was that a state board wants Ferry County to prove that certain endangered species don't exist…

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MONDAY, NOV. 14, 2005

Bad news for buffalo...

Eastern Washington University's triumph over the Montana Bobcats, 35-14, at the game in Cheney Saturday means that Montana Gov. (and rancher) Brian Schweitzer owes Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire five buffalo steaks."The governor expects to collect the buffalo meat from Gov. Schweitzer any day now," a…

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TUESDAY, NOV. 8, 2005

MONDAY, NOV. 7, 2005

As I-912 comes down to the wire...

"The wonder of the First Amendment is that you don’t have to be right every time." ---- Washington Secretary of State Doug MacDonald, asked on Monday about some of the claims in political ads about Initiative 912 during an interview with Seattle talk-radio station KVI.

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MONDAY, OCT. 31, 2005

When "yes" means "no"...

Both sides are discounting the possibility of voter confusion over Initiative 912, which can seem counterintuitive.After all, a vote yes on I-912 is a vote against the recent gas tax increase. A vote no is a vote for the tax. Some polls have suggested that…

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TUESDAY, OCT. 25, 2005

Initiatives you haven't heard about yet...

Okay, so we haven't even voted on the current crop of ballot measures (gas tax repeal, public smoking ban, doctor/lawyer fixes for malpractice woes, etc.)But already, our mailbox and phone are heralding next year's crop of direct democracy.The list so far:-Initiative pitchman/guru/gorilla Tim Eyman says…

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TUESDAY, OCT. 18, 2005

For the record...

So where does Gov. Christine Gregoire stand on this year's ballot measures? According to Carol Andrews, Gregoire's spokeswoman:I-330: (Doctor-backed malpractice insurance reforms): No.I-336: (Lawyer backed malpractice reforms): No.I-912: (Repealing the recent hike in the state's gas tax): No.I-900: (Requiring performance audits for state and local…

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MONDAY, OCT. 17, 2005

Short takes and breaking news from the Washington Legislature and the state capital.